Don Thomas, Senior Pastor

Our Senior Pastor is Don Thomas. He has served as our Director of the Christian Campus House since 2005 and served as our Worship Pastor from 2007 until Franklin came on board in 2014. He has been our Senior Pastor since 2011.

Don is homegrown right here in Portales-a graduate of PHS and ENMU, and has been in some sort of ministry position for over 32 years! He has a real passion for helping people to see that God is FUN and REAL! He & Suzanne have one daughter-Landri– and two sons-Levi & Landon– and spend a lot of time chasing them! They love playing & singing music, working on their home and eating meals with their friends. And of course…the Dallas Cowboys!

Don has long believed that the Church is valuable and important, but that Church is not religion-it is about relationship!

Don is available for personal studies, visiting, or a cup of coffee anytime…his cell phone is 575.760.1843. He is in the Church office most days, but you can leave a message on his cell phone anytime.


Franklin Smith, Associate Pastor

central websiteFranklin & Marea Smith
(It’s pronounced MARIE) are Portales natives-Marea even grew up at Central Christian! They are both Masters Level Teachers with over 16 years experience in public schools! Both have been certified as “Golden Apple Teachers” (it means they are really good at what they do!) and both serve the Lord with all their heart!

Franklin has served as the Worship Leader at Victory Life Church for many years now, as well as leading the award-winning PHS Choirs! He has a passion for Worship Music having written and recorded multiple songs and CD’s! He has studied, taught & preached God’s Word for all of his life and is a TRUE Follower of Christ! He will bring skill, talent…but above all, a heart for God to our family!

Franklin enjoys music of all kinds, Apple computers & techy-nerdy stuff like that, the High Plains Emmaus Community, his Honda Shadow motorcycle, & is a die-hard Oklahoma Sooners fan! He and Marea (owner and operator of Me And Thee Studios) have 3 wonderful children: Bailey, a college junior, Emma, and Caden. He will primarily focus on Worship & Media Arts Ministries. Even with that, though, Franklin will preach periodically, be involved in Staff Development and will always be available for a cup of coffee to visit!


John Vaughn, Student Pastor

John is from Smiths Grove, Kentucky (where the grass is green AND blue!) He joined the Air Force in September of 2000. He has been an Aircraft Hydraulic technician, Aircraft Maintenance Instructor, and even a USAF Recruiter. The Vaughn family came to Cannon AFB in Jan 2017, and he lives in Portales with his wife Kristan, who was a NICU nurse for 15 years and is now a stay at home mom, his 11 year old daughter, Kendel, a 5th grade student at Faith Triumphant, and 1 month old son-Kannon, 2 crazy dogs and 2 hangry horses.


He felt called to ministry in 2014, and served as the Middle School Pastor at Mt Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot Ar. until he was moved to Portales in 2017. In 2019, he served at First Baptist Portales as the College and Youth Pastor and is excited to serve alongside us here at Central. He recently graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelors in Biblical Studies and Christian counseling and has started his Master’s degree in Discipleship and Pastoral Counseling. His heart’s desire is sound Biblical teaching using relatable methods that lead students into an honest relationship with Jesus! He will be serving the teens here at Central while he continues his commitment to the US Air Force.

Jennifer Gonzales, Children’s Pastor

11103079_10206500967466729_1044030723064989707_oJennifer is from Jal, NM where she was raised in the church.
She graduated from ENMU in 2004 with a Bachelor’s in University Studies (just a few classes shy of a teaching degree) when her husband, Benito, enlisted in the US Army. They started their military career in Georgia and planted roots in Washington State for four years. They relocated to Albuquerque in the summer of 2008 and Jennifer began working at Presbyterian Health Plan as their Project Coordinator, being involved in connecting and organizing community support and provider outreach.
In 2011, Jennifer left Presbyterian to start a brand new journey as a stay-at-home mom for Elisha. He is an “outgoing, charismatic, and energetic little man who tells it like it is.”
Benito is the new HR Director at ENMU and we are so thankful that they are with us!
Jennifer says that “her silent prayer was to serve in some way and she never imagined that God would move her in this direction. I am so thankful to be here at Central!”